Such is the case with the Google Nexus One. Google introduced the phone in January of 2010 and pulled it seven months later in July of 2010.
Google tried to re-invent the phone purchase process but seems to have failed. According to Macworld:
…customers could only buy it online, without being able to touch or try out the phone in a store. They had to have a Google login and use Google Checkout to buy the Nexus One.
Google made it hard to purchase (only Google Checkout) and didn’t offer an option for people to hold the phone… People like to hold or try their phones before they lay out hundreds of dollars or commit to using it for a few years.
There was one more issue with the Nexus One. There were three different players involved in the phone: Google who directed the design and controlled the operating system; HTC who manufactured it; and T-Mobile who provided the network it ran on, it was never clear who was going to provide support. Google is used to providing support through online forums, via email or not-at-all. Which has generally worked for them up till now–probably because most of their products are offered free. This did not work when it came to the Nexus One which cost $179 (with contract) or $530 (contract free). With days articles such as this began to appear:
The real problem is figuring out which entity is supposed to be responsible for answering questions and providing support.
If you buy a Nexus One manufactured by HTC, directly from Google’s Web site, and use it with T-Mobile’s wireless network–who do you call when you have a problem? Google is only accepting support requests via e-mail, and users are getting bounced between T-Mobile and HTC as neither seems equipped to answer complaints, or willing to accept responsibility for supporting the Nexus One.
Google quickly implemented support but the reputation was already out there already and it was hard to regain control of the story.
Please remember, the product is only one part of the entire experience–and every part of the experience is critical when dealing with consumer tech products.
I give a talk about these issues. Its full of examples, videos and case studies–but there isn’t a single slide with a bullet in the 45 minute talk. If you’d like to book the talk, please be sure to contact me at 415/777.3339 or via email joshua@DLifeGroup.com.